Is the problem with the network?

Some email problems can occur between your computer and the (mt) Media Temple server. There are dozens of connection points between your computer and the server. There's a connection from your computer to your local network, from your local network to your Internet Service Provider, from your Internet Service Provider to the next Internet Service Provider down the line, and so on. A problem with one of these connection points is a network problem. Follow the steps below to continue troubleshooting:

  1. Run a telnet test to the server for the appropriate port. You can run this test from your command prompt (Terminal on Mac or Run > cmd on Windows). Click on the link for a step-by-step walkthrough. The general format of the test is as follows:
    telnet 25

    You should replace with your own mail server name (the same as your domain name in most cases), and25 with the port number you are try to test. Here's a summary of port numbers related to email:

    Examine the results of your telnet test. A response of "220" or "Connected" indicates connection success - continue on to the email client troubleshooting below. A timeout or "Unable to connect" message indicates that you have a network problem.
    • 25 - standard outgoing SMTP port
      • Note - this port is consistently blocked by Internet Service Providers in an effort to prevent spam. See the special Outgoing mail blocked on Port 25 section below for further assistance.
    • 587 - alternate outgoing SMTP port
    • 465 - SSL encrypted outgoing SMTP port
    • 110 - incoming POP port
    • 995 - SSL encrypted incoming POP port
    • 143 - incoming IMAP port
    • 993 - SSL encrypted incoming IMAP port
  2. While a problem on a specific port may not show itself in a generic traceroute, it doesn't hurt to try. For detailed instructions, on running a traceroute, see Using the traceroute command. For quick reference, run one of the following from your command prompt: 



    A timeout, or a few hops with only asterisks (*), may indicate a problem with the connection hop listed before or after the timeout.

  3. If you have identified a network problem, you will need to contact your local network administrator, or your Internet Service Provider, for further assistance. Even if the problem is downstream from your local Internet Service Provider, they may be able to reroute traffic for your domain through a different network path, so that you don't run into the bad network connection beyond them.

Outgoing mail blocked on Port 25

It is becoming more and more common for Internet Service Providers to block outgoing SMTP traffic on Port 25. This is part of their effort to block spam. There are two ways to get around this:

  1. Use Port 587 for outgoing email instead. You can switch your local email client to use Port 587 by following the appropriate guide here:Use your Internet Service Provider's outgoing SMTP server. You can contact your Internet Service Provider for the server name, username, and password. Your email will still be coming from your own email address at your own domain name; it will just be delivered by their server.
    • List of third-party email clients
    You will also need to make sure that your server supports Port 587 for outgoing mail.
    • Enable Port 587

Is the problem with my local email client?

If your webmail test and your telnet tests from the previous section haven't turned up any server or network problems, this indicates that the problem is most likely with your local email client. The suggestions go in order from least to most changes required for your current setup.

  1. The best thing you can do for your email client is to double-check all of your settings. Even if they are correct, sometimes re-typing them can jog your email program into functioning correctly. We have a list of articles with the correct settings here: Third-party email applications.
  2. If that doesn't resolve the issue, you may want to try recreating the email account. Again, that can jog your software into using the correct settings. See the link above for helpful walkthroughs.
  3. Perform an online search for any specific error messages that you see in the email client. You can also search in that email program's help forums specifically.
  4. Contact the support team for your specific email application. Check their website for instructions on how to receive support.
  5. Reinstall the email client - note that this will delete any existing downloaded emails and custom settings!
  6. Try a different email client. Thunderbird is free and works on both Mac OS X and Windows.

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